Biocompatibility and biodegradability of spider egg sac silk

  • Kris GellynckEmail author
  • Peter Verdonk
  • Ramses Forsyth
  • Karl Fredrik Almqvist
  • Els Van Nimmen
  • Tom Gheysens
  • Johan Mertens
  • Lieva Van Langenhove
  • Paul Kiekens
  • Gust Verbruggen


Spider egg sac silk (SpESS) were enzymatically cleaned and their biodegradation in vivo and in vitro, as well as their biocompatibility were studied. Proteinase K treatment diminished the tenacity and the strain of the SpESS fibers in proportion to the enzyme concentration. Fibers treated with trypsin were not significantly affected. Tensile properties of Vicryl®, SpESS and of silkworm (Bombyx mori) silk fibers (SWS) were measured after incubation in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) at 37 °C up to 12 weeks. Biodegradation of SpESS and SWS was insignificant compared to Vicryl®. Five milligram SpESS fibers from laboratory grown spiders (Araneus diadematus) were treated with proteinases before sterilization and subcutaneously implanted in Wistar rats. After 1, 4 and 7 weeks the immunological reaction was compared to untreated SpESS and polyglactin (Vicryl®) control samples. SpESS samples treated with trypsin only or in combination with a Proteinase K treatment induced less inflammatory reactions than untreated silk fibers. The enzymatical cleaning could diminish the tensile properties, but enhanced the biocompatibility of the SpESS fibers rendering them appropriate for use in biomaterial application where the slow biodegradability is an advantage.


Giant Cell Linear Density Silk Fiber Spider Silk Dragline Silk 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research is funded by the BOF (special research funds) of the Ghent University (B/03191/02 IV1). PCM Verdonk is a research assistant for the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO Belgium).


  1. 1.
    F. VOLLRATH, Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 24 (1999) 81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. MADSEN and F. VOLLRATH, Naturwissenschaften 87 (2000) 148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. Y. HAYASHI, N. H. SHIPLEY and R. V. LEWIS, Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 24 (1999) 271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    F. VOLLRATH, J. Biotechnol. 74 (2000) 67Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    S. KUBIK, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 41 (2002) 2721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    S. R. FAHNESTOCK, Z. YAO and L. A. BEDZYK, J. Biotechnol. 74 (2000) 105 Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    D. HUEMMERICH, T. SCHEIBEL, F. VOLLRATH, S. COHEN, U. GAT and S. ITTAH, Curr. Biol. 14 (2004) 2070CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    J. SCHELLER, K. H. GUHRS, F. GROSSE and U. CONRAD, Nat. Biotechnol. 19 (2001) 573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. LAZARIS, S. ARCIDIACONO, Y. HUANG, F. DUGUAY, N. CHRETIEN, E. A. WELSH, J. W. SOARES, C. N. KARATZAS, Science 295 (2002) 472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    F. VOLLRATH and D. P. KNIGHT, Nature 410 (2001) 541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    C. VINEY, J. Tex. Inst. 91 (2000) 2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    D. W. HUTMACHER, Biomaterials 21 (2000) 2529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    L. LU, X. ZHU, R. G. VALENZUELA, B. L. CURRIER and M. J. YASZEMSKI, Clin. Orthop. 391 (2001) S251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    G. H. ALTMAN, R. L. HORAN, H. H. LU, J. MOREAU, I. MARTIN, J. C. RICHMOND and D. L. KAPLAN, Biomaterials 23 (2002) 4131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    S. SOFIA, M. B. MCCARTHY, G. GRONOWISC and D. L. KAPLAN, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 54 (2001) 139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    F. VOLLRATH, P. BARTH, A. BASEDOW, W. ENGSTROM and H. LIST, In vivo 16 (2002) 229Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    E. VAN NIMMEN, P. KIEKENS and J. MERTENS, J. Mater. Prod. Technol. 18 (2003) 345Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    J. M. GOSLINE, P. A. GUERETTE, C. S. ORTLEPP and K. N. SAVAGE, J. Exp. Biol. 202 (1999) 3295Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    ISO 10993-6: Biological evaluation of medical devices–Part 6: Tests for local effects after implantation (1994)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    R. W. POSTLETHWAIT, D. A. WILIGAN and A. W. ULIN, Ann. Surg. 181 (1975) 144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    W. A. CASTELLI, C. E. NASJELTI, R. E. CAFFESSE and R. DIAZ-PEREZ, Oral Surg. Oral Med. Oral Pathol. 45 (1978) 179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    C. R. UFF, A. D. SCOTT, A. G. POCKLEY and R. K. PHILLIPS, Biomaterials 16 (1995) 355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    B. PANILAITIS, G. H. ALTMAN, J. CHEN, H. J. JIN, V. KARAGEORGIOU and D. L. KAPLAN, Biomaterials 24 (2003) 3079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    M. SANTIN, A. MOTTA, G. FREDDI and M. CANNAS, J. Biomed. Mater. Res. 46 (1999) 382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    G. H. ALTMAN, F. DIAZ, C. JAKUBA, T. CALABRO, R. L. HORAN, J. CHEN, H. LU, J. RICHMOND and D. L. KAPLAN, Biomaterials 24 (2003) 401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    G. FREDDI, R. MOSSOTTI and R. INNOCENTI, J. Biotechnol. 106 (2003) 101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    T. GHEYSENS, L. BELADJAL, K. GELLYNCK, E. VAN NIMMEN, L. VAN LANGENHOVE and J. MERTENS, J. Arachnol. 33 (2005) 549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    D. DE BAKKER, K. GELLYNCK, E. VAN NIMMEN, J. MERTENS and P. KIEKENS, In European Arachnology, edited by F. Samu and Cs. Szinetar (Budapest, Szombathely: Plant Protection Institute & Berzsenyi College, 2002) p. 356Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    T. ARAI, G. FREDDI, R. INOCENTI and M. TSUKADA, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 91 (2003) 2383CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kris Gellynck
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Verdonk
    • 2
  • Ramses Forsyth
    • 3
  • Karl Fredrik Almqvist
    • 2
  • Els Van Nimmen
    • 1
  • Tom Gheysens
    • 4
  • Johan Mertens
    • 4
  • Lieva Van Langenhove
    • 1
  • Paul Kiekens
    • 1
  • Gust Verbruggen
    • 5
  1. 1.Faculty of Applied Sciences, Department of TextilesGhent UniversityZwijnaardeBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  3. 3.N. Goormaghtigh Institute of PathologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology, Unit of Animal Ecology, Zoogeography and Nature ConservationGhent UniversityGentBelgium
  5. 5.Department RheumatologyGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations